Monday, May 26, 2014
I received this email from a reader last week:
I just wanted to write to you and give you a huge thanks.
I read one of your posts about not throwing out your old magazines. Being that I am a avid reader, I had quite a few old magazines lying around.
So I decided to check out one in particular. Heavy hitters. It's about cars.
While checking on ebay to see if anyone else had sold this magazine, I noticed that one sold for a whopping $355.
Now when I looked at it, I said to myself that it looked familiar. Like I had one of those. (They always make two alternative covers)
I looked in my collection and sure enough I had it.
It was their premiere special edition.
Long story short.
I put it up for sale on ebay for $355 as well, and it sold in less than 30 minutes. (See the listing here.)
I then turned around and sold the other 20 issues I had for $159. (See the listing here.)
For 21 magazines I made over $500.00
So now I'm Back into selling items on ebay.
Thanks to you I'm building my new business and I'm off to a great start.
Outstanding! Thanks for sharing, Keir. This just goes to show that everything you need to sell on eBay is already here, somewhere around you, maybe even in your own home. For more ideas about what you might have lying around home that has value on eBay, grab my free eBook, "Cash Hiding in Your Home."
What have you sold lately that you found in your home?
Source for eBay Inventory - Your Local Library
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Paint by Number Set Sells for $317 on eBay
Thursday, May 22, 2014
There has been a lot of talk about making big money selling discontinued consumable items on eBay and Amazon. Maybe you cashed in on the Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Frosting earlier this year? This frosting was discontinued after many years on the market, and its loyal following of customers were paying up to $25 a can for it on both eBay and Amazon. Maybe you were one of the lucky sellers who knew about this, and who found it at stores like Big Lots, Wal-Mart, or your local grocery store for $2 or less. One an item is discontinued and the supply is decreased, it becomes more valuable. That is what makes our job as online sellers fun!
Items like this are all around you and this is a case where knowledge is power. I have done the work for you in my newest eBook, providing a list of 25 discontinued consumable items in the grocery, health and beauty, and baby categories. All of these items are profitable on eBay right now, and 75% of them are also on Amazon.
Grab your copy today and hit the stores.
Monday, May 19, 2014
As we head into summer, many eBay sellers will feel the infamous summer slump. Depending on what you sell, you may or may not feel this. But for many, this can be a frustrating time because you are working just as hard as always, but sales slow down dramatically. Understand that eBay and ecommerce are cyclical and you will have months where sales are better than others. Don't take it personally and don't let the summer slump get the best of you. Keep your cool and keep moving forward.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer, but there are things you can do to keep moving forward and keep cash coming in. Buying more inventory isn't always the answer - maybe because the cash flow isn't there or space doesn't allow. And making impulsive price reductions out of fear isn't a good idea either because once Back to School starts everything will pick up and you can get the original asking price. Don't panic and be a sell out!
Slow months are an excellent time to diversify, learn something new, or create new streams of income. Staying busy working on productive tasks will keep your mind off of the slow sales as well as empower you to learn new skills and build new streams of income that will serve you all year. Here are some suggestions for new streams of income to build during the slow months.
1. Learn to source in new ways. If you always go to thrift stores, you will most likely see the same types of things every time like clothing, kitchen items,or toys. Try estate sales where you might see vintage glass, mid-century collectibles, vintage license plates, or valuable Christmas ornaments. Or if you always go to yard sales, try live auctions. Shake things up. Exposing yourself to new ways of sourcing inventory will provide new opportunities and you will learn more about different kinds of items to sell. Get out of your comfort zone.
2. Learn to sell on another venue. Amazon and Etsy offer other opportunities that eBay doesn't. Learn what they are and if those sites will serve you. Download my free guide to getting started on Amazon, or check out my Etsy course for beginners.
3. Check out virtual work on sites like ODesk and Elance. You can do data entry, social media marketing, proofreading, copy editing, or other tasks not related to eBay. Or you could set up a profile as a Virtual Assistant for another eBay seller who has too much work. A Virtual eBay Assistant does things like edit photos, create listings using information provided by the seller, or social media marketing (like posting listings on Pinterest). Many sellers are looking this to hire this type of help and another eBay seller is perfect for the job.
4. Consider partnering with another business that has inventory. Maybe you know of a small thrift store, church thrift store, consignment store, or small business that has inventory that could be sold online. You can approach them and either teach them how to sell, or sell their items for a commission. I partnered with a small Humane Society charity thrift store in 2011 and sold their better items on eBay and books on Amazon. I made $12,000 (not sales but my percentage) that year from this partnership, plus I learned a lot about items I had never been exposed to before. I simply walked in and asked if they sold any of their items on eBay. They said no, and a wonderful relationship was born. Find consignment clients - get listed in my eBay Seller Consignment Directory.
5. Write a Kindle book. Anyone can do this on any topic. Kindle books provide a nice stream of income all year and they are pretty much passive income once you get them written. Kindle books are actually short reports so if you were good at writing term papers or wrote for your high school newspaper, you can do this. I have three Kindle books that provide a nice check every month. This is also a great gig for teachers over the summer break.
6. Write articles for pay. You know I write for The Examiner and this is a good gig that pays well each month. You can write about any topic, so regardless if your passion is cooking, crafts, animals, the environment, exercise, collecting, designer clothing, or any other topic - there is a column for you. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, send me a message and I can send you some tips to help you submit your application.
The point here is that you don't have to sit around all summer worrying about why sales are slow or obsessing over what you are doing wrong on your eBay listings. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new during the slow time - something that will benefit you in the months and years to come. Remember, when we are uncomfortable we are growing. I have 11 income streams now, and if I can do this, you can, too. I'm just a stay-at-home mom with a passion for never working for someone else again!
As always, if you want some one-on-one help with eBay or any of the other income streams above, contact me for a private consulting session. I am glad to help you with your online journey and share what I have learned along mine.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Amazon's Prime Pantry is a new service that allows Prime members to order enough "qualifying" grocery items to fill a specific size shipping box, with the shipping cost of $5.99 regardless of the number of items or the weight. Some current Amazon sellers and others interested in venturing into the grocery niche have expressed concern about how Amazon Prime Pantry will affect their sales. From my observation, it won't. Here's why:
1. According to the program description, qualifying items are "not cost effective to ship on their own." When browsing the qualifying items, I noticed that many products are large or heavy items priced under $15 like large jugs of detergent, 12-count boxes of soft drinks or sports drinks, 16-pound bags of pet food, and 14-pound plastic jugs of cat litter. I wouldn't recommend the typical "at-home" Amazon FBA seller offer these types of items anyway because they aren't profitable and the inbound shipping and storage fees would not be cost effective. Plus, who wants to handle big heavy items all day long when you can sell smaller lightweight items for much higher profit?
2. The other side of "qualifying items are not cost effective to ship in their own" is that many qualifying items are Add-Ons, selling for less than $10. Again, something I wouldn't recommend for the average at-home FBA seller because the profit isn't there, and Add-Ons can sit for a long time before they sell.
3. Qualifying items are only a tiny fraction of the 665,000 items in the grocery category. Here is how many qualifying items are available in each subcategory right now:
4. All of the items I clicked on are only offered by Amazon.com, not third party sellers. My observation is that these are products that we don't (or wouldn't) offer anyway and Amazon is testing out a new creative way to move cheap products in a more cost effective way. For example, what self-respecting FBA seller is going to bother with one can of soup sold for $1.88? Or a 12-pack of Diet Coke for $3.64? Or a box of toothpicks for 85 cents?
So grocery sellers, don't despair. There is still plenty of opportunity for everyone because we all have access to different regional products and so many new grocery items hit the shelves each year it is physically impossible to buy and resell everything with an opportunity. (Like this Snow Cone cookie mix - I mean really? Who comes up with this stuff?)
The grocery category is unique in that sellers can often find a product in their area that no one else is selling, or bundle items in a unique way, and sell those items for months or even years with no competition. Just figure it out and keep replenishing every week. Not many other categories offer that benefit.
Check out my downloadable Amazon Grocery Course which is focused on:
Understanding how to sell products with very little competition
Understanding demographics and buying habits of Amazon grocery customers so you can serve them better with more products
How to test products before making significant investments in inventory
The types of products that are easiest to work with, sell the best over time, and are most cost effective with regard to inbound and outbound shipping
Top 5 Summer Foods to Sell on Amazon
Top 10 Grocery Clearance Items to Sell on Amazon
Top 3 Grocery Items to Sell on Amazon
Saturday, May 3, 2014
My daughter ordered a product on eBay and it came today in a Priority Mail box, turned inside out, with postage due of $11.70. I am going to get on my soapbox here and scold any eBay sellers who are doing this, or who think this is a clever workaround. It isn't for 2 reasons:
1. It is illegal. Priority mail supplies clearly state, "This packaging is the property of the U.S. Postal service and is provided solely for use in sending Priority Mail shipments. Misuse may be a violation of federal law."
2. It puts your customer in an awkward position because they will have to pay the postage due, and will contact you about the inconvenience. We have asked this seller to send the $11.70 due via Paypal ASAP.
3. It puts your account in jeopardy. The customer may open a case against you, or leave you negative feedback.
When turning Priority Mail supplies inside out, the inside of the package, which becomes the outside, is clearly marked so the post office can identify it - the box is marked so it is a visual cue for the post office. Sellers who are doing this aren't outsmarting anybody. Here is what the outside of the box looks like, clearly marked with "Thank you for using Priority Mail - Priority Mail postage required." I am wondering how the seller missed this and thought they could sent it Parcel Select:
Finally, the seller included this note with the order, "If for any reason you are unhappy with your order, please contact us before leaving feedback." My daughter did contact them, but many buyers may not in the heat of the moment and just leave a negative. She is awaiting a response.
It is so easy to follow the rules. The rules are clear on this. Is it really worth risking your account doing these tacky and unprofessional workarounds? My daughter says, "Come on, it isn't that hard to just do it right." I agree.
Using Recycled Packaging - Tacky or EcoFriendly?
eBay Sellers Misusing Priority Mail Supplies
How to Ship a Coffee Mug Sold on eBay